“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

— Malcolm Gladwell

“A single act of courage is often the tipping point for extraordinary change.”

— Andy Stanley

“When an idea reaches critical mass there is no stopping the shift its presence will induce.”

– Marianne Williamson

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push – in just the right place – it can be tipped.”

— Malcolm Gladwell

“If you want to bring a fundamental change in people’s belief and behavior…you need to create a community around them, where those new beliefs can be practiced and expressed and nurtured.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

“History reminds us that dictators and despots arise during times of severe economic crisis.”

— Robert Kiyosaki

“That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

“These are the times that try men’s souls.”

— Thomas Paine

“A crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind. … The crisis you have to worry about most is the one you don’t see coming. … That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, poet and scholar

“Man is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis – once that crisis can be recognized and understood.”

— Norman Cousins

” When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

— John F. Kennedy

Do you feel that something very big is close to, or even now, happening? Many people do, including myself. A deeply troubling sense of angst, but about what? While there are always disturbances of some kind, this one seems – feels – different, and huge. Is there a discernable “tipping point”, or will whatever-it-is just sneak up on us?

My February 28th post looked at this from the standpoint of “Signs in the Sky”, starting with the crossing of paths of the 2017 and 2024 total solar eclipses on April 8, 2024 just south of St. Louis, MO. The present post deals with our world situation realities, assuming there are any actually discoverable.

While this sense of dread or deep concern has not reached the level of a premonition, with me at least, I have been unable to shake it or to clarify it. A premonition generally refers to “… anticipation of an event without conscious reason”. An “event”? No idea what this might be, although there are many candidates. Just “something” – huge and very bad.

One way that I can see for digging into this to look for possible major events and situations that may be nearing a crisis or critical point of some kind.

Tipping pointthe critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.

Significant, unstoppable change

This situation – a point at which significant, unstoppable change occurs – seems to be at the core of whatever may be going on. But, the change trigger may well be a result of the system’s behavior rather than something that a mass of people might cause. Big changes can occur from small starting points or disturbances.

Our societal world is an enormously large, complex, human behavioral system. It is today extremely interconnected and its components highly interdependent. Such complex systems are inherently fragile and can be greatly impacted by even small random disturbances. System behavior cannot be predicted. I have written about this several times in past – see here, here, and here.

This means that our world system today is ready for some random event to trigger a significant unstoppable change. It cannot be predicted. It cannot be prevented. It will happen, and probably soon. Just what might this “it” be? Nobody knows.

The bad news is that almost anything might be the cause of our “it”.

People eventually get fed up and riled up. Then things get tipped.
People eventually get fed up and riled up. Then things get tipped.

Malcolm Gladwell and The Tipping Point

Way back in 2000, a Canadian writer named Malcolm Gladwell published an extremely influential first book. Gladwell was born in Fareham, Hampshire, England. His mother Joyce is a Jamaican psychotherapist. His father, Graham Gladwell, was a mathematics professor from Kent, England. When he was six his family moved from Southampton to the Mennonite community of Elmira, Ontario, Canada.

“… is the debut book by Malcolm Gladwell, first published by Little, Brown in 2000. Gladwell defines a tipping point as ‘the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.’ The book seeks to explain and describe the ‘mysterious’ sociological changes that mark everyday life. As Gladwell states: ‘Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.’ The examples of such changes in his book include the rise in popularity and sales of Hush Puppies shoes in the mid-1990s and the steep drop in New York City’s crime rate after 1990.”

“… The Rule of 150 says that congregants of a rapidly expanding church, or the members of a social club, or anyone in a group activity banking on the epidemic spread of shared ideals needs to be particularly cognizant of the perils of bigness. Crossing the 150 line is a small change that can make a big difference.”

“… Comprehending the tipping point and its role in social epidemics involves understanding three ‘rules’: the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context. Gladwell contends that creating an epidemic involves a few agents of change or influential people to deliver the message.”

What is Gladwell’s “tipping point”?

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.”

Others have offered similar ideas:

If you can reach just 10 percent of the population, you can begin to reach a tipping point; that’s where true social movements take place – it’s a numbers game. And when you reach that number, the truth becomes obvious and empires of injustice crumble and fall.
— Louie Psihoyos, American photographer and documentary film director

There are “tipping points” in almost all major aspects of large complex human systems. Aspects here include ideas, trends, social behaviors – almost anything that humans do. Of course, other large complex systems like animal populations, insect populations, forests, seas, and so many more exhibit “tipping points” of one kind or another. All share a common feature of being subject to unpredictable, significant, unstoppable changes.

Emphasis here on “unpredictable”. Many changes just happen, no matter what we may try to do to affect the system’s behavior.

Storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789

This is an example of a tipping point in the existence of a major nation: from Wikipedia:

“The Storming of the Bastille occurred in Paris, France, on 14 July 1789, when revolutionary insurgents attempted to storm and seize control of the medieval armory, fortress and political prison known as the Bastille. After four hours of fighting and 94 deaths the insurgents were able to enter the Bastille. The governor de Launay and several members of the garrison were killed after surrender. The Bastille then represented royal authority in the center of Paris. The prison contained only seven inmates at the time of its storming and was already scheduled for demolition, but was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy’s abuse of power. Its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution [emphasis added].”

Tipping point, flash point – a change flowing out of increasingly difficult events and situations that was not predicted (except after the fact, as always) in timing, nature, or magnitude. This is our old friend, the Black Swan.

Theories about the causes of this tipping point are many, as one would expect. All of course in retrospect. It is impossible to predict tipping points in most cases of importance. About the best that we can do is to highlight conditions that might turn into tipping points.

A serious tipping point for the French, causing the French Revolution, which ended with the rise of Napoleon as dictator.
A serious tipping point for the French, causing the French Revolution, which ended with the rise of Napoleon as dictator.

America as democracy has its tipping point

  • Jeff Thomas via The Burning Platform describes how democracies like ours (used to be) are inherently unstable and temporary: “The Sandcastle”:

“Mister Jefferson was a true visionary. He knew, even as he was penning the Declaration of Independence and portions of the Constitution, that his proclamations, even if they were accepted by his fellow founding fathers, would not last. He recommended repeated revolutions to counter the inevitable tendency by political leaders to continually vie for the removal of the freedoms from their constituents.”

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Around the same time that Mister Jefferson made the above comment, Alexander Tytler, a Scottish economist and historian, commented on the new American experiment in democracy. He’s credited as saying,”

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship [emphasis added].”

Judging from recent events, America has reached, or is so very close to, its tipping point from democracy to dictatorship. And from there to …? Who knows? Yet another unforeseeable tipping point, most likely.

The American Revolution portrayed post-tipping point at Bunker Hill, just outside Boston.
The American Revolution portrayed post-tipping point at Bunker Hill, just outside Boston.

Are we close to our tipping point? No, we are well past it …

My sense is that we are already tipped. Don’t you feel tipped also? I think we tipped quite a while back. How far back? At least to the late 1990s. Perhaps even further back to the early 1970s, or to the JFK assassination in 1963 yet.

What does it feel like being tipped? Well, it feels like today I guess – assuming we are well and truly tipped. Huge changes are happening at a frightening pace. Chaos of some nature is almost everywhere. Things keep getting worse rather than stabilizing or getting better.

Chaos is how a huge fragile complex system readjusts itself to its emerging new reality. It doesn’t ask us for our thoughts or assistance. The world system just does its own thing, as I recently argued. Here is just one example:

“Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong is predicting political turmoil, civilian unrest, war and a big economic downturn in 2024 in a new report called ‘The Year from Political Hell.’ It’s not just a US election year, but it is an election year for more than half of the world.  This is a global phenomenon which no one can be sure of the outcome.”

“Armstrong explains, ‘This is not just the United States election. This is what you hear on the news locally …”

“However, step outside this country, and, for example, Indonesia just voted in a leftist government.  You have the EU going for elections.  You have on May 2nd all the local elections in Britain. You have Russian elections on May 7th.  60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government.  You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out.  I mean it’s all over the place.’”

“On the war front, get ready for more mass killing, and don’t be surprised if it goes nuclear.  Armstrong predicts,”

“There will be nuclear weapons.  The neocons keep telling people on Capitol Hill that Russia would never use a nuke because they know we would use them back. That is nonsense!  If you are about ready to conquer somebody, and this is all they’ve got left, they are pushing the button …”

“These people, all they want is war.  They don’t care.  They really do not care.  They don’t care about the economy.  They don’t care about anything.”

“Armstrong says the coming war will make the economy ‘crash in 2024’ as people get scared, spend a lot less and save a lot more.”

Is Armstrong likely to be right on this prediction? My guess is no. What he describes are a few of the disturbances that might just happen to be among the full set of potential tipping point causes. Actually, if we are already tipped, as I have suggested, then what he describes is the post-tipping chaos of our world system getting itself rearranged.

Martin Armstrong uses a model he calls “Socrates” to generate many of his predictions. One prediction is for a catastrophic 2024. So far at least, this seems about right.
Martin Armstrong uses a model he calls “Socrates” to generate many of his predictions. One prediction is for a catastrophic 2024. So far at least, this seems about right.

More evidence of a post-tipping world being underway

“Wars will sadly not go away but instead escalate since there is ZERO desire for peace from the US neocons or the weak Europeans. Inflation and interest rates will increase rapidly, driven by deficits and exponential growth of debt.”

“’Poverty is the parent of revolution, crime and war’ is what Aristotle stated 2,300 years ago. I added ‘war’ since this is often the consequence of poverty and bankruptcy for a nation in a desperate attempt to borrow more money and blame the war for the economic woes.”

“As the US is now totally losing its hegemony, we can on a daily basis follow the desperate actions that a failing super power takes. As every empire and nation that fails, the US has followed the same pattern whether we talk about the Roman, Mongol, Ottoman, Qing or British Empires. Initial economic success as well as military might lead to illusions of grandeur and infallibility.”

“Riches, often stolen from other nations, turn to deficits and debts, collapsing currencies and decadence. That leads to money printing followed by the collapse of the currency. At that stage wars are often started which generally have disastrous consequences …”

“The RISK OF A COLLAPSE OF THE global geopolitical and economic SYSTEM is crystal clear BUT the outcome is extremely murky.”

Egon von Greyerz paints a very gloomy picture about our near-term prospects, but offers mainly gold as a survival solution. Good luck with that, as they say.
Egon von Greyerz paints a very gloomy picture about our near-term prospects, but offers mainly gold as a survival solution. Good luck with that, as they say.

There are dozens more examples of chaos and desperate, panicked efforts to prevent collapse of globalist and other schemers schemes and fantasies.

If our world has already tipped, is there anything that we can do?

I am pretty much convinced that we have indeed gone past, way past, our tipping point as a nation, aka empire of the West. And probably much of the entire world as well. We are then well along toward whatever comes next, post-tipping-point-wise. It is hard to imagine things this chaotic getting much worse, but as the old saying goes … just when we thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they got worse – much worse.

This means to me that, absent a big-nuke world war, we are likely in for an extended period of chaos and its close friends. This is what a large complex world system does as it makes necessary adjustments in order to reestablish some sort of stability. What people do is probably irrelevant at best, and making things even worse, at worst.

I attempted in a couple of recent posts (see here and here) to list my top-seven concerns about what now seems to be a post-tipping point world. A full list would likely exceed seventy-seven, but my cognitive apparatus pretty much chokes off beyond a top-seven. Yours also, perhaps?

In any case, we must in all likelihood be forced to deal as best we can with our chaotic world situation, both locally and globally. This is not going away soon, or without a great deal more struggle, pain, and suffering. “Coping” with all of this seems to be a much too weak term to use here.

I cannot possibly imagine what others are dealing with in these incredibly difficult times. Far more difficult than whatever I have on my small plate, I’m sure.

My game plan for living in a post-tipping point world

So, what to do? The best that I can offer is to tell you what my plans may be, such as they are. As I noted in the coping post, I am basically an optimist and problem-solver, along with being very action-oriented. Probably not a great combination for survival these days, but so be it.

And, in passing, no – gold is not on my action list.  

My game plan is quite simple actually, and based on three core principles: remain agile, adaptable, and resilient (AAR):

Agility means to be able to move quickly in response to major impacts or threats. Few or no long-term commitments. Small steps wherever possible. Resources diversely located and varied.

Adaptability means to be able to respond creatively and in a variety of ways. Situation-dependent ways. Actively avoiding inflexibility.

Resilience means to be able to survive, and even recover from, the most likely kinds and magnitudes of adverse impacts. Know your vulnerabilities and strengthen them as much as possible, routinely.

Background assumptions here are these:

#1. I cannot predict anything much. Whatever happens will be known – at best – only as it occurs or, more likely, after it has occurred. Reactive action opportunities will likely be limited, and possibly none. Resilience will be especially important.

#2. Available information will be mostly misinformation and disinformation. I will need to seek confirmation wherever possible, but otherwise assume that it is false. Trusted sources will be vital. Black swans everywhere.

#3. Much will happen without warning. This places special importance on being able to respond quickly and with minimal reliable information. Agility and adaptability will be critical.

Not very inspired, yes? Nevertheless, it is about all that I could think of assuming a relatively chaotic and unpredictable environment for some indefinite but likely extended period.

Three core principles (AAR) for dealing effectively with chaotic and unpredictable environments.
Three core principles (AAR) for dealing effectively with chaotic and unpredictable environments.

Note on “prepping” vs. AAR

Prepping has a pretty limited value-scope. You can’t really store enough supplies to last for an extended period such as the one envisioned here. Prepping also makes you a target for hungry non-preppers. Prepping nevertheless can buy vital time while you figure out what to do next. Prepping generally addresses some very severe situations and shortages. This post offers my ideas on prepping.

AAR is quite different. It aims at living through a chaotic period where supplies are available in at least limited quantities even if only sporadically. Life in some disrupted fashion goes on more or less as usual. The Related Reading section below has an extract from Jim Kunstler who sees, as I do, an extended period of relative chaos, but one that leads inexorably to a stable world:

“… But don’t discount human ingenuity and resourcefulness, our ability to work-around and reinvent systems for daily life, even if it’s on a downscaled and more modest level.”

Bottom line:

Tipping points – points at which significant, unstoppable change occurs – are characteristic of large complex systems when subjected to random disturbances. Unpredictable in nature, magnitude, and timing – just like black swan events and situations. These are how such systems reconfigure themselves into a new, quasi-stable state. Human actions typically make things worse.

We as a nation, and probably a world as well, seem to have passed a tipping point. We are now in the subsequent chaotic phase of system reorganization. Outcome unpredictable. Absent a big-nuke world war, things will settle down – but only after some extended period. The trick for us involuntary world-system components is to survive this system reorganization.

I favor a highly flexible approach that combines agility, adaptability, and resilience. Since no one has any idea about how all of this will roll out, the best that we can do is to be able to handle whatever may come along. There is no formula. What works will likely be different for each of us and our groups. This will have to be learned on the job, so to speak. Good luck with that.

International Man: Western countries are leading the charge in restructuring their economies around the issue of climate change. They’re committed to a comprehensive agenda to “decarbonize” their economies by 2050. What’s your take on this?”

Doug Casey: To sum it up in one word, it’s insane. In two words, it’s criminally insane. Before the Industrial Revolution, the overwhelmingly major fuel source was wood. After that, we went to coal, which was a big improvement in density of energy and economics. Then, we went to oil, another huge improvement in energy density and economics.”

“These things happened not because of any government mandates but simply because they made both economic and technological sense. If the market had been left alone, the world would undoubtedly be running on nuclear. Nuclear is unquestionably the safest, cheapest, and cleanest type of mass power generation. This isn’t the time to go into the numerous reasons that’s true. But if nuclear had been left unregulated, we’d already be using small, self-contained, fifth-generation thorium reactors, generating power almost too cheap to meter. The world would already be running on truly clean green electricity.”

“Instead, time, capital, and brainpower have been massively diverted to so-called ‘ecological’ power sources—mainly wind and solar—strictly for ideological reasons. The powers that be want to transition the whole world to phony green energy, like it or not.”

“I’m all for green energy in principle. There’s no question that solar and wind are worthwhile and effective for select applications—generally small, isolated, special locations where conventional fuel is inconvenient or too costly. The efficiency of solar has been tremendously improved over the last few decades, as has wind efficiency. But neither make any sense for mass base-load power in industrial economies.”

“If there is one reality that Americans need to accept, it’s that every system has a breaking point and there are no exceptions. Human beings are built to adapt and this has given us incredible resilience, but it also means we have a tendency to wait too long to fix the parts of our society that are broken. Instead, we let the problems build and fester until, sadly, the final straw falls and everything comes crashing down.”

“Sometimes this collapse is by chance and sometimes it’s by design. In either case the catalyst is the same – The public does not prepare and they don’t take action to correct the people creating the crisis until it’s too late.”

“In our modern era of invasive technology, economic weakness, nuclear weapons and biowarfare, this is an unsustainable model. We can no longer ignore threats on instability in the hopes that they will go away or that governments will defuse the danger, nor can we simply pick up the pieces over and over again after each calamity. There may come a time when the mess is so big we won’t be able to clean it up. People must plan ahead, and they must stop tolerating the notion of passive involvement in the mechanisms that influence their lives and future.”

“I write often about hypothetical trigger events and breakdown scenarios because a large number of people still need to be educated on how fragile the western world truly is right now. For example, any significant disruption to supply chains and logistics at this time would be devastating for a large number of Americans (or Europeans).”

“… The average American has around one week’s worth of food in their pantry at any given time. With FEMA response in place a rationing system would be instituted over the course of several weeks, probably using a digital tracking method much like an EBT card. And make no mistake, there will be strings attached to any government rationing program:”

“Do you have the latest covid booster? No ration card until your shots are up to date. We see that you have registered firearms…you need to turn those in before you can get rations. We see that you’ve made problematic comments in your social media history, you may not be eligible.”

“It takes around 7-10 days of zero food supply for panic to set into a population (when people finally realize things are not going back to normal). It takes two weeks for starvation to take a physical toll and three weeks for people to start dying. Riots and looting are inevitable, but that won’t solve the problem if there’s no food to loot.”

  • James Howard Kunstler via his Kunstler.com suggests that “… everything in our world wants to get smaller, slower, finer, and more local”: “Desperate Lunatics: Think About It”:

“I want you to think about this: there is a reason that the WEF-Globalist cabal is losing the battle to control and dominate the rest of us. They are trying to power straight into the opposing currents of reality. Above all, they seek to centralize power and decision-making. But the world is moving in the opposite direction. All of the WEF’s aims founder on the macro trends unspooling in history.”

“The rising rule for human affairs now is that anything organized at the giant scale is going to wobble and fail. There will not be any world government run by the creatures of Davos or Brussels, or Washington DC, or any other place that the grandiose imagine would be their seat of global power. It’s not going to happen so you can stop worrying about it. But you’d better prepare for what is happening: everything in our world wants to get smaller, slower, finer, and more local. Anything that opposes these trends is pissing into the wind.”

“Since every activity we humans practice has to move in that direction, we are seeing colossal industries, institutions, and arrangements crack up: everything from national government to long-distance supply chains to giant retailing outfits to worldwide business networks to overgrown universities and high schools to transport matrices to metroplex cities to mega-farms to political parties.”

“Where the rot is probably greatest, but more veiled for the moment, is in the operations of organized capital, the banks and money systems, including financial markets. When these monsters blow, as they must, all the others will shake, rattle, and roll. They have to blow because the fuel tank is emptying.”

“… So, the period of disorderly transition we’re in is not moving toward greater dominance by giants, but to the survival of the small and nimble [emphasis added]. Expect: failed national governments, maybe even state governments; failed supply lines; failed electric supply, failed trucking, failed big box stores, failed supermarkets, failed giant companies; failed banks, failed investments, failed money, failed news orgs, failed airlines, failed car dealers, failed hospitals, failed colleges, and much more.”

“But don’t discount human ingenuity and resourcefulness, our ability to work-around and reinvent systems for daily life, even if it’s on a downscaled and more modest level.”